I have been visiting Ethiopia since 2005. Personally, from the point of view of a foreigner, I think Ethiopia is making steady progress. Repression or no repression, Addis Ababa is one of the safest towns in Africa. Repression or no repression new roads are opening up around Addis. Repression or no repression, new businesses are springing up daily. As I say, may be I see it differently because I am not Ethiopian, but many Ethiopians I have spoken to agree that the government is doing well- they just don't like the individual persons running the system. Now on democracy, rights and development. It is an established fact the democracy does not guarantee development. If anything, the countries that have made any progress in the third world, especially with the late developers or those known as the developmental states in east Asia, were not necessarily democracies. It is also proven that rather than democracy leading to development, it should be the other way around, that is development leading to democracy. Improved lives, better education, better health and nutrition standards etc, lead to a more participatory society. Hungry people do not really care about the system of government, they just need a better life! The discussion about rights is very interesting. What rights? Whose rights? Where does one's right start and stop? There are lots of unanswered questions! Lastly, I will say that I am no fan of aid. I will say stop all the aid to any government in Africa. Repressive or no repressive. Democratic or autocratic. African governments seem to find the resources to do all things, except to invest in their people. Aid is in itself a problem as many government's don't think of raising resources internally or investing in research and development of viable economic goods, they just wait for a western government or development institution to bring the money. This is not helping anyone the donor, the government, and the people on the ground all loose out.